KATE MOSS turns 40 this month, as does Christian Bale, and before the 2014 daffs bloom I will have clocked 50 (so also this month does the American First Lady). We’re all getting old: to talk of Paul Brady or Dire Straits or Jack Lynch or Margaret Thatcher or Charlie Haughey or The Young Ones is to talk of a fossil world. Not so long ago I went into a computer shop with a floppy disk in my hand and the kid in the shop looked at me as though I was asking him to take hold of a used condom (it was the kind of unhappy incident that makes one feel not just past one’s best before date but so much out of time as to be a little bit cracked).*
What is there to say about something so veritably mundane as aging? In Beckett’s Godot (which I’ve had occasion to revisit recently) Crackpot Pozzo fairly nails the situation with the following:
“Ah yes! The night…[…] What is there so extraordinary about it, qua sky? It is pale and luminous like any sky at this hour of the day. In these latitudes. When the weather is fine. An hour ago, roughly, after having poured forth even, since, say, ten o’clock in the morning, tirelessly torrents of red and white light it begins to lose its effulgence, to grow pale, pale, ever a little paler, a little paler until pppfff… finished!, it comes to rest. But, but, behind this veil of gentleness and peace night is charging and will burst upon us pop!…like that!…just when we least expect it. That’s how it is in this bitch of an earth.”
*In fairness I must record that I am perfectly well aware that floppy disks belong in the trash can of history; I was inquiring as to whether there was any way I could retrieve the data on the disk (precisely because you cannot get computers that take floppies nowadays). But the point is the kid in the shop had never seen a floppy; I had to explain what it was.
MUSIC in the above is Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’, the eponymous track from their 1995 album.